Once a week I ship two large boxes of books to the Midwest as one of my jobs.

The Peanut Gallery wraps said box with the enthusiasm of an adult child granted leeway to play with the shipping tape. In other words, a blowtorch would have a hard time denting the multiple layers of wrapping he puts around these 25-lb monsters which so courageously brave the slings and arrows of Media Mail to wind their way from California to Wisconsin.

I’m always amazed they consistently make it – except for the occasional snafu and the even rarer puzzle.


My editor-in-chief emailed me yesterday to state that:


1.    A big box had arrived, shrinkwrapped mightily and with the postal service’s standard “oops – sorry” sticker announcing the obvious: a hungry machine had attempted dissection and the remaining package had been courageously snatched from the very jaws of doom.


2.    The box contained roughly half of its usual largess – so apparently the Processing Monster had consumed a goodly portion.


3.    Not wanting to be greedy, our good public servants (or, is it private now??) then attempted compensation using whatever materials were on hand.


In this case, the item(s) of choice happened to be …. Cookie cutters.


Yes, in addition to my usual books, the remainder of the box had been ‘padded’ with cookie cutters before it proceeded on its way.


My editor was ‘just checking’ that, in fact, I was not the instigator of said cookie cutters (or had not lost my mind); but no: any cutters (and all accompanying cookies) never make it out of the house!


It was truly a puzzle as to how and why the cookie cutters were ‘gifted’.


I postulate:


1.    At any given time the postal service has in one of its ‘secret back rooms’ a stockpile of stuffs from similarly-broken boxes. Auctions are publically held from time to time, but we all know what a paininthebutt it can be to set up an auction catering to cheapskates who don’t want to bid more than .50 on a 600-lb box of potential…


2.    In a rough attempt to pair MIA books with appropriate possibilities, SOMEBODY deduced that at least one of the books in said package was a COOKBOOK. And so…


3.    … what better item(s) to pair with missing cookbooks than kitchen utensils?? (Myself, I’m thinking of writing the P.O. and politely asking for a new Cuisinart bowl. I’m SURE all manner of kitchen equipment is stockpiled SOMEWHERE within the bowels of the postal system. One has only to ask.)


Given this logic, next time I’m shipping off a HUGE carton of computer books.


To myself.


I’ll be certain to leave room for the iPAD that I covet for my ‘broken box reward’…

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